The average Aussie spends 100 hours on their lunch break per year. Pretty crazy right? Imagine how many things you could learn, do and explore in that time. The answer? Heaps.
If you’re still smashing down reheated noodles from last night’s dinner and scrolling through social media at your desk on your 30 minutes of freedom, something's gotta change. Here are seven you-beaut ways to have a productive lunch break and feel super proud of yourself for achieving #allofthethings.
Fall In Love
Unlike the nighttime Tinder swipers of our time, you’re all about #productivity. And if you made the effort to get out of your PJs for work, you may as well make the most of it, amiright? Not only does lunch break dating give you just enough time to skip awkward silences, know if there’s a spark and crack a few jokes—it also means you’ll have an excuse to skedaddle if things aren’t going to plan. There’ll be no time wasted looking for parks, deciding on a million places to eat or being expected to wear your bathers on the first date (awks). Simply make a list of your closest cafes, restaurants or bars (there’s no time for excessive drinking, don’t worry boss), let your date know the time of your lunch break and meet them there for a quick 20 minute catch up. If you’re super keen to turbo charge your time management, you could have two 10-minute dates in separate locations. Did we just say that?
Plan An Epic Holiday
Let’s face it. It’s pretty tricky to find someone who is 100% in love with their job. But never fear, your lunch break is the perfect time to wanderlust. Take your holiday dreaming to the next level and actually start planning your bon voyage. Don’t spend another hour crying over beautiful exotic locations on Instagram into a snack pack of yoghurt. Map out real world jet setting plans to whisk your mind away from the desk instead. This will help you to remember why you’re at work in the first place—to sink schooners with the locals in Berlin on your next trip, duh! Wipe those tears, Google European flights and start scouring the web for must-see places. You’re going on vacay, baby! Whether your trips in seven weeks or seven months, you have plenty of time to get planning, learn about the culture and perhaps even the language…
Learn A Language
Bilingual people just wanna boast. Just kidding, nous allons bien (that’s French for ‘we go alright’). And if you want to join the club, here’s how to do it. We reckon that using your noggin to connect with others around the globe (or to just feel really confident about asking where the closest Maccas is, in a foreign country) is pretty cool. Apps like Duolingo make learning another language easier than ever. This free app gives you access to over 30 languages and even makes learning fun, with a capital F. Other options like Memrise and Quizlet gamify your new language learning experience. If that isn’t the cleverest way to have a productive lunch break, we don’t know what is.
Make Pals With Your Co-Workers
Behind that loud nose breathing and inconsiderate crunching of nuts at their desk, your coworkers might actually be really great humans who function in the real world too. But how on earth will you ever know unless you break free from those four beige work walls? Fish out your wallet, find a cool spot close by and grab your new work BFF by the hand. Skipping arm in arm for a lunchtime snack adds extra cuteness but is not mandatory. Who knows, they might shed some light on new and interesting topics, have a friend to invite to your next lunch break date or just genuinely be way cooler than you first thought. Try this productivity hack with one new colleague per week and you’ll be comfortably telling people to switch nuts for sultanas before you know it.
Become A Volunteer
Our local communities need our support, yo! So walk your butt into an organisation like Volunteering Australia or check online for any opportunities closeby to your work. Get all warm and fuzzy knowing that you’re helping out those in need. Soup kitchens are always looking for a helping hand and Aged Care homes are filled with incredible peeps! Even starting your own volunteering venture is pretty cool. Like picking up rubbish from your local beaches on a lunchtime stroll or walking someone’s doggo. Your options are endless!
We know how important it is to get moving and we’re supposed to get at least 30 minutes of the good stuff every day. Well, would you look at that, this fits perfectly into your lunchtime break! Not all of us are morning people, or nighttime people for that matter. But lunchtime? Aha—that could be your sweet spot! Sign up for a group sport like netball or soccer to sweat out your work time woes. Beach yoga, anyone? Get the endorphins flowing and return to your desk feeling a million bucks!
Rediscover Your Hood
Sure, the lunch room can be kind of cool. But only if there’s no one else around and you can sneak in a nap. Productive lunch times aren’t for napping though, yo! Pop in those headphones, cue a Cardi B track and explore your workplace’s local ‘hood. If you’re like most people, you’re stuck in the routine of visiting the same coffee shop, frequenting your fave local cafe and even walking the same route to and from the office. Have a look around, turn a different corner and grab a quick bite from the restaurant that never seems to have anyone inside of it—hey may have the best dumplings ever! Productive lunch breaks don’t need to be tedious and boring, they can actually be filled with patting stranger’s dogs, waving at ladies working in the local op-shop and high fiving yourself for trying something new.
Now you've smashed your lunch break, we've got something else for you to try...asking for a pay rise. Check out our top tips on how to ask for one...and actually get it.
Image credit: Katy Belcher